A number of people were hoping that when the U.S. Senate went on its vacation or recess, President Trump would use the time to make recess appointments of officials his administration needs which have been blocked by Democrats using arcane Senate rules. Oklahoma Senator James Lankford estimates that at todays’ pace, it would take the President eleven years to get his people in place.
According to Wikipedia, there are 1,212 presidential appointments which require confirmation by the U.S. Senate. The Washington Post identified 577 key positions requiring Senate confirmation. Of those key positions, as of August 5, 117 of President Trump’s nominees have been confirmed.
In the United States, a recess appointment is an appointment by the president of a federal official, who would normally require Senate confirmation, while the U.S. Senate is in recess. The United States Constitution requires most senior federal officials be confirmed by the Senate before assuming office, but the president may act alone to make the appointment while the Senate is in recess. To remain in effect, a recess appointment must be approved by the Senate by the end of the next session of Congress, or the position becomes vacant again. In current practice this means that a recess appointment must be approved by roughly the end of the next calendar year.
The constitutional basis of recess appointments is Article II, Section 2, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution, which states: “The president shall have the power to fill up all the vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of the next session.”
This would mean that President Trump could immediately put his team together and in place and then let them be confirmed during 2018. All Obama holdovers would then be replaced.
Presidents have used this recess ability to aid them in getting their appointments on board. President Barack Obama appointed 15, George W. Bush 171, Bill Clinton 140, George Herbert Walker Bush 77, Ronald Reagan 243, Jimmy Carter 68, Gerald Ford 12, Richard Nixon 41, Lyndon Johnson 36, John Kennedy 53, Dwight D. Eisenhower 193, Harry Truman 195 and Franklin Roosevelt 89.
However, the Senate or House may seek to block potential recess appointments by not allowing the Senate to adjourn under Article 1, Section 5, Clause 4 of the Constitution, which provides that both Houses must consent to an adjournment. This tactic is “especially used when either House of Congress is controlled by a different party than that of the President, the Senate of the House may seek to block potential recess appointments by not allowing the Senate to adjourn for more than three days, blocking a longer adjournment that would allow recess appointments to be made.”
All the presidents since George Washington have made recess appointments with the exception of President Donald Trump. Here his own Republican Party joined with Democrats to block him. It is criminal what Republican congressional leaders are doing that thwart the president’s agenda, appointments and policies. It is no wonder President Trump must leave Washington, D.C., to get among his political base, who still admire and pray for him.
Yes, before the Senate left for August recess on August 3, lawmakers agreed to a series of the pro forma sessions that ensures the Senate never officially goes on recess, although they did. The move effectively blocks the president from making recess appointment while they are on vacation. These are the same Republican senators, who promised the public so much, if they would only elect a Republican president, but not this one. These senators are cowards.